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True Chxjuch 







Knterku according? to Actof Congrc^P. in the year lfil}6, by 

E D W A 11 D II . WEED, 

In the Clerk'H Office of the DlHtrlct Court of the United State? for the Southern 
DlHlrlctof New York. 

Julius Bien, 

Lithographer, N. Y. 

Wm. M. Franklin. 
Printer, N. Y. 

• • •• 

• • • • 


• • • 

• • •• 

''yon ivy on the abbey wall, 
''around a font the people pressed." 
''we walked in ferns so wet with dew/' 


''we turned away among the tombs/' 

''a meeting-house arose in view/' 

"still following where the highway led, 
till elms made arches overhead/' 

"afar from every church we strayed/' 

''but such a splendor filled the place/' 

Hi Sabbath mom I roamed astray. 
And asked a Pilgrim for the way : 

''Oh tell me, whither shall I search, 
That I may find the one tnie church?'' 

He answered, "Search the world around. 
The one true church is never found : 

"Yon ivy on the abbey wall 
Makes fair the falsest church of all/' 

But, fearing he had told me wrong, 
I cried, "Behold the entering throng.' 

}h* murmured, "If a church be true. 
It hath not many, but a few I'' 

Around a font the people pressed. 

And crossed themselves on brow and breast. 

'*A (?ross so light to bear," he cried, 
'*Is not of Christ the Crucified! 

*'Fiach forehead, frowning, sheds it off: 
(Christ's (5ross remains through scowl and scoff!"' 

We tjnt^^nnl at the open door. 

And saw men kneeling on the floor; 

Faint candles, by the daylight dimmed — 
As if by foolish virgins trimmed; 

Fair shitues of the saints, as white 

As now thcnr robes are, in God's light; 

Stain(;d windows, casting down a beam 
Like Jacob's ladder in the dream. 

The Pilgrim gazed from nave to roof. 
And, frowning, uttered this reproof: 

"Alas! who is it understands 
God's temple is not made with hands f' 




V walked in ferns so wet with dew 
They plashed our garments trailing througli. 

And came upon a church whose dome 
Upheld a cross, but not for Rome. 

We brushed a cobweb from a pane, 
And watched the service in the fane. 

"Do prayers," he asked, ''the more avail, 
If offered at an altar rail? 

''Does water, sprinkled from a bowl. 
Wash any sin from any soul? 

''Do tongues that taste the bread and wine 
Speak truer after such a sign?" 

Just then, upon a maple spray. 

Two orioles perched, and piped a lay — 

Until the gold beneath their throats 
Shook molten in their mellow notes. 

Resounding from the church, a psalm 
Rolled, quivering, through the outer calm. 

''Both choirs/' said I, ''are in accord. 
For both give praises to the Lord." 

*'The birds," he answered, ''chant a song 
Without a note of sin or wrong: 

''The church's anthem is a strain 
Of liuman guilt and mortal pain." 

The orioles and the organ ceased. 
And in the pulpit rose the priest. 

The Pilgrim whispered in my ear, 
''It profits not to tarry here." 

"He speaks no error," answered I, 
"He teaches that the living die; 

"The dead arise; and both are true; 
Both wholesome doctrines; neither new." 

The Pilgrim said, "He strikes a blow 
At wrongs that perished long ago, 

"But covers with a shielding phrase 
The living sins of present days." 

We turned away among the tombs — 
A tangled place of briers and blooms. 



Lf440X AND 



J Av '< '*. I 1 V,/ , O 


I spelled the legends on the stones: 
Beneath reposed the martyrs' bones — 

The bodies which the rack once brake, 
In witness for the dear Lord's sake — 

The ashes gathered from the pyres 

Of saints whose souls went up through fires. 

Tlie Pilgrim murmured as we passed, 
''So gained they all the crown at last: 

•'Men lose it now, through looking back 
To find it at the stake and rack: 

*'The rack and stake are old with grime: 
Grod's touchstone is the living time." 

t passed where poplars, gaunt and tall. 
Let twice their length of shadow fall. 

A meeting-house arose in view, 

Of bleached and weather-beaten hue. 

Men plain of garb and pure of heart 
Divided church and world apart: 

Nor did they vex the silent air 
With any sound of hymn or prayer: 

God's finger to their lips they pressed, 
Till each man kissed it, and was blest. 

I asked, "Is this the true church, thenT' 
He answered, "Nay, a sect of men: 

''And sects, that lock their doors in pride. 
Shut God and half his saints outside : 

''Tlie gates of Heaven, the Scriptures say, 
Stand open wide by night and day : 

"To enter, therefore, is there need 
To carry key of church or creed?" 






Atren, lpnox and 



1 JLUL following where the highway led, 
Till elms made arches overhead, 

We saw a spire, and weather-cock. 
And snow-white church upon a rock : 

A rock where, centuries before. 
Came sea-tossed pilgrims to tlie shore. 

My sandals straightway I unbound. 
Because the place was holy ground. 

I cried, "One church at last I find 
That fetters not the human mind." 

''This church," said he, '4s like the rest; 
For all are good, but none is best." 

XviV from every church we strayed — 
Save Nature's pillared aisles of shade. 

The squirrels ran to see us pass, 

And God's sweet breath was on the grass. 

I challenged all the creeds, and sought 
What truth, or lie, or both they taught. 

I asked, "Had Augustine a fault?" 

The Pilgrim gazed at Heaven's high vault, 

And answered, "Can a mortal eye 
Contain the sphere of ail the sky?" 

I said, "The circle is too wide." 
"God's truth is wider!" he replied: 

''When Augustine was on his knee. 
He saw how little he could see : 

"When Luther sought with burning heart, 
He caught the glory but in part: 

"When Calvin opened wide his soul. 
He comprehended not the whole : 







\STOR, Let*©X AND • 






''Not Luther, Calvin, Augustine, 
Saw visions such as I have seen." 

While yet he spake, a rapture stole 
Through all my body and my soul. 

I looked upon his holy brow. 
Entreating, "Tell me,, who art Thou?" 

But such a splendor filled the place, 
I knew it was the Lord's own face! 

I was a sinner, and afraid ! 

I knelt in dust, and thus I prayed: 

*'0 Christ the Lord! end Thou my search, 
And lead me to the one true church." 

He spake, but not as man may speak: 
*'The one true church thou slialt not seek: 

•'Seek thou for evermore, instead. 
To find the one true Christ, its Head!" 

The Lord then vanished from my sight. 
And left me standing in the light.